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Proteas scrape past Bangladesh in a low-scoring T20 World Cup thriller

Proteas scrape past Bangladesh in a low-scoring T20 World Cup thriller
Anrich Nortje of South Africa during the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on 10 June 2024. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

South Africa beat Bangladesh by four runs to all but seal their place in the Super Eights of the T20 World Cup.

South Africa 113-6 (Heinrich Klaasen 46; Keshav Maharaj 3-27), Bangladesh 109-7 (Towhid Hridoy 37; Hasan Sakib 3-18)

The Proteas edged past a valiant Bangladesh side by four runs on Monday at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York to remain unbeaten in the T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh needed six runs off the final two balls of the match with batter Mohammad Mahmudullah on strike against the slow left-arm of Keshav Maharaj.

Maharaj dished up a low full toss that the veteran Bangladeshi all-rounder clubbed straight and high into the New York sky.

proteas bangladesh t20 world cup

The Proteas celebrate the dismissal of Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh during the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on 10 June 2024. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

It looked well on its way for six which would have meant Bangladesh’s first victory, in eight previous attempts, over the Proteas in T20 cricket.

But skipper Aiden Markram, positioned at long-on, ran around quickly, leapt and took a brilliant two-handed catch above his head and a few steps from the boundary, dismissing Mahmudullah.

Tailender Taskin Ahmed faced the final ball – which was also a full toss, this time higher and even easier to hit – but it fell harmlessly into the offside as South Africa secured their third win in three matches in their T20 World Cup campaign.

Tricky wicket

For the third time, South Africa’s top-order failed to fire on the tricky wicket in New York.

The Proteas were in a precarious position of 25 for four at the end of the powerplay before Heinrich Klaasen (46 off 44) and David Miller (29 off 38) rescued the innings with a run-a-ball 79 run fifth-wicket stand.

Bangladesh’s seamers ran through the first four batters. Reeza Hendricks fell for a golden duck, missing a moving Tanzim Hasan Sakib delivery that struck his back leg plumb in front.

Hendricks has only accumulated seven runs in the first three matches.

Quinton de Kock (18 off 11) looked to fight fire with fire by striking a few lusty blows early, including two sixes and a four, but was cleaned up by a Hasan Sakib ball that kept low.

Markram (four off eight) came and went after being bowled by Ahmed. The skipper has only managed 16 runs in the campaign.

Stubbs (nought off five) was the final man to fall in the powerplay, chipping a Hasan Sakib delivery that stuck in the wicket straight to cover.

Klaasen and Miller smartly navigated the seamers, taking very few risks, then accumulated against the spinners. The pair pounced on anything slightly short or full of a good length with three sixes and three fours between them, while hitting gaps and running hard against the better deliveries.

South Africa looked set to reach around the 13o mark, but fell away at the end when the seamers returned, scoring only 13 runs off the final three overs with Klaasen and Miller losing their wickets while looking to accelerate.

Panic stations

Bangladesh were tentative at the start, reaching the end of the powerplay with only one wicket down but a mere 29 runs on the board.

Middle-over specialists Maharaj and Anrich Nortje struck in their opening overs, the first two after the powerplay, to peg the Bangladeshis back.

Nortje followed that up with a vicious bouncer in his next over to dismiss skipper Hossain Shanto to leave Bangladesh with 50 runs and four wickets down at the halfway stage.

But Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah, like Klaasen and Miller before, came together for a brilliant fifth-wicket partnership.

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Tawhid Hridoy of Bangladesh and fast bowler Anrich Nortje of South Africa during the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on 10 June 2024. (Photo: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images)

Going at around a run a ball as well, they took Bangladesh to 94 for five at the end of the 17th over.

Bangladesh needed 20 off the final three overs and despite the tough conditions looked to be coasting to the total.

But Rabada dragged it back with a splendid 18th over in which he picked up the wicket of Hridoy with the first ball and conceded only two runs in the other five deliveries.

From there Ottneil Baartman bowled a penultimate over yielding seven runs before Maharaj held his nerve – or the Bangladeshi batters failed to hold theirs – in the final over.

After three matches, the Proteas finally leave the low-scoring Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. Their final group stage match is against Nepal at The Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent & the Grenadines before the Super Eight fixtures, which all take place in the West Indies. DM

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